IBM has announced the latest in its mainframe computer series. Called IBM Z, they say it can process up to 12 billion (18 times faster than rival platforms) encrypted transactions per day in a move that will see it delve deeper into the financial cybersecurity space. This makes sense for financial institutions because instead of having several machines doing this job, a single one can with of course at high costs. Encryption by itself is expensive because of the computing power that is required at that level.
IBM said this kind of system became necessary because in 2016 alone, about 4 billion financial records were stolen, up 556 percent in 2015 and it gets worse because of over 9 billion records stolen over the past 5 years alone, only about 4 percent of them were encrypted which calls for a greater investment on the part of financial institutions.
IBM says it engages about 150 (probably prospective) clients in the IBM Z making which signals that many financial institutions are willing to move to the technology. Many instant messaging services have encryption in place so that the government and other actors cannot easily spy on you and once financial institutions join the list, this would definitely draw a backlash from the government which has always maintained it needs to be able to access records in order to monitor and stop the flow of terrorist funds. As noted, regulation has indeed been a factor in the delay of encryption technologies especially in the financial sector.
In a statement released earlier today, Ross Mauri who is a general manager at IBM Z said, “The vast majority of stolen or leaked data today is in the open and easy to use because encryption has been very difficult and expensive to do at scale. We created a data protection engine for the cloud era to have a significant and immediate impact on global data security.” This comes as they describe IBM Z as the biggest overhaul in over than 15 years.
But IBM Z builds on IBM’s transaction machine which they say handles nearly 87 percent of all card transactions and about $8 trillion in payments per year in addition to 29 billion ATM transactions each year and 4 billion passenger flights every year, and more than 30 billion transactions a day.